Home | BotGarden | Nº 128 – Cooperation instead of Competition.

Nº 128 – Cooperation instead of Competition.

Saturday 25th June 2022.

Nothing is just simply black and white or a linear affair running in straight lines. Nearly every action, every product creates waste or CO2 at some stage in its life, or indeed winners and losers: the rich are becoming richer, the poor are becoming poorer. Biodiversity across all habitats on our planet is decreasing, and this is something we are keeping an eye on at every step of our journalistic work. Which is exactly why at ECO123 we operate differently, from the bottom up and with an awareness of the circular nature of our economy.

When our ECO123 team was reflecting on how to turn our operations climate-neutral by 2025 and made a calculation of our CO2 emissions we noted that most emissions occur at distribution level, followed by the production stage, the printing of our magazine on paper. The transformation and transport of paper is the biggest emitter. In the future we will do without this and only publish one printed issue per year – in the shape of a yearbook. In late November, four weeks before the year is out, the printed edition of ECO123 will be sent to all our subscribers. And we pledge to reduce our organic waste volume to under 50 kg per year. At every stage of the production process we are working plastic-free.

During the 2020/2021 pandemic we reduced the frequency of publication from four to two printed editions. Now we are scaling down to one issue. At the same time we have increased the frequency of the online editions to a weekly publication every Saturday, in response to our readership survey. This has meant overstretching ourselves financially at this first stage, meaning we will now approach our goal of weekly frequency taking one step at a time. In 2022 we’ll renew our content every other week, in order to then change over to a weekly frequency of publication before 2024.

At the same time we have changed a lot around internally. For many years now we’ve produced twice as much clean energy as we use in our offices. For this purpose we installed two photovoltaic tracking systems with 40 solar panels as far back as 2010 and 2011 and have  been producing nearly 150,000 kW/h of electricity since. In 2018, after the forest fires of Monchique, we started reforesting a burnt-down section of woodland that we are protecting in a sustainable way with a sprinkler installation. This is our current project. ECO123 is installing a subterranean system of tubes in the Botanic Forest Garden including eight large sprinklers screwed on to steel tubes three metres high, spraying jets of water across a 50-metre radius.

We are in the final stretch of these improvements. In about a month’s time we’ll have got to the point where we can present the system to the public for inauguration. With every forest fire that gets close to our future Botanic Garden we’ll switch on the sprinkler system, und all those still small trees will be humidified from the air. Fire, you see is fought with water.

For this purpose we have built a water cistern with a 50,000-litre capacity. This cistern is fed mainly by rainwater which is merged and collected there. Over the coming years we will plant many more native trees across nearly two hectares and provide many animals with a habitat. It’s our goal to operate in a climate-neutral way, meaning: emitting a lot less CO2 and to compensate the remainder through planting trees. For every hectare of forest binds 20,000 tons of CO2 released during forest fires. We will prevent forest fires and lower the risks. Would you like to join us and take on sponsorship for a tree? In which case you are more than welcome to come to Esgravatadouro near Caldas de Monchique on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm, and to dive into the shade of our new diverse woodlands.

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+info: editor@eco123.info

Uwe Heitkamp (60)

trained TV journalist, book author and hobby botanist, father of two grown-up children, knows Portugal for 30 years, founder of ECO123. Translations : Dina Adão, Rudolfo Martins, Kathleen Becker
Photos:Uwe Heitkamp


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